9 thrilling things to do on Mackinac Island besides zip lines

Curiously enough, one of the most common questions people ask about Mackinac Island is if there are zip lines. The answer: No, there are no zip lines on Mackinac Island.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any exciting activities for thrill seekers.

Sure, you might think of Mackinac Island first and foremost as a quiet place where life moves along at a clip-clop pace just the same as it did hundreds of years ago. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then you can certainly immerse yourself in that kind of relaxing vacation.

But you can also find things to do on Mackinac Island that will get your heart pumping.

Map of 9 exhilarating activities to enjoy on Mackinac Island including parasailing, mountain biking, aerial tours and more

For example, you could float a few hundred feet in the air off the back of a speedboat and film yourself screaming as you soar above the Straits of Mackinac!

“You’re up pretty high,” said Capt. Jim Rizzardi, owner of Mackinaw Parasailing. “You can see the whole downtown area and get a nice panoramic view of the bridge and the Grand Hotel from the one side of the island, and you can see Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac from the other side.”

And if you want to get dipped in the water on the way down – hey, you only live once – then they can gently splash you into the surf for an experience you’ll never forget.

Mackinac Island parasailers float high above the water behind a speedboat with the Mackinac Bridge in the background

Want more ideas for a memorable adrenaline rush on Mackinac Island? Here are eight more exciting activities for your to-do list:


  • Walk the Tranquil Bluff Trail – Another spine-tingling hiking route is along the Tranquil Bluff Trail on the east side of Mackinac Island. The trails winds along the bluff some 100 feet or more above Lake Huron. The views and photo ops are unbelievable. Just don’t get too close to the edge!

A hiker pauses at the edge of a cliff overlooking the blue-green waters off Mackinac Island along Tranquil Bluff Trail


  • Take an aerial tour – Not quite brave enough for parasailing? Then how about an aerial tour inside the cabin of an aircraft? Taking off from Mackinac Island Airport and seeing the landscape from high above is an exhilarating way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Crown Jewel of the Great Lakes. Aerial tours of Mackinac Island are available by both airplane and helicopter.

A snorkeler swims over a rocky lake bed in the crystal clear waters off the shore of Mackinac Island


A sailboat cruises through calm blue waters off the forested shore of Michigan’s Mackinac Island

  • Shoot the cannon at Fort Mackinac – One lucky person each day gets to load and fire the cannon at Mackinac Island’s historic Fort Mackinac. It’s literally a blast! So are several other interactive programs at the fort where you can see live rifle demonstrations and watch interpretive soldiers go through marching drills.




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